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Mayor Gillum targets millennials: A rising force in Florida

By Thaddaeus Watkins | Staff Reporter
On March 7, 2018

The millennial generation is the largest age group to emerge since the baby boomer generation, and as studies shows in Florida, 18-to-34 year-olds are the largest population group.

Millennials have very different expectations through government.

Bridge to Success Academy teacher, Victor Chrispin, aims to inform his students on the importance of political involvement in all professions. Chrispin’s strategy is to bring awareness to his students of the power of millennials.

Born and raised in Jacksonville, FL, Chrispin had dreams to become involved in local politics since his youth.

“Growing up in Jacksonville, I have witnessed many local issues that need to be fixed. Precisely it’s why I have always set personal goals and responsibilities to achieve a result in becoming Jacksonville’s first Black Mayor,” said Chrispin.

Like Chrispin, Mayor Andrew Gillum is a graduate of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University who kicked off his career at the age of 23. Gillum became the first African-American and youngest individual to be elected as Tallahassee City Commissioner in 2003.

Politically, Gillum completed several projects and campaigns that focus on millennial growth and empowerment. Gillum opened Tallahassee’s first teen center, Palmer Munroe Center, that serves as a safe haven for many area youths.

Barbara Sanders, a Tallahassee native, remembers when the center was built.

“It was an amazing addition to the community, especially for the youth,” said Sanders. “The Center provided opportunities to get our young men and women off the streets.”

In addition to that, Gillum’s city development project helped construct Cascade Park as a stormwater management facility to protect local neighborhoods from flooding. It was built in 2013 and is a popular area that attracts many millennials.

In Gillum’s journey to Governor, he is focusing on the many issues of the people. Gillum’s campaign mirrors a famous slogan, “by the people, for the people.” Gillum is using real issues, real people and real time to capture his audience's attention.

“His platform addresses issues here in our state,” said Chrispin. “Instead of focusing on what he wants to accomplish as governor, he has shifted focus to what our state needs. Not glittery generalities, but instead, techniques that will capture every Floridian’s heart.”

Show appearances and realism are great ways to interpersonally connect to millennials.

Gillum recently appeared on the Breakfast Club, an American syndicated radio show hosted by DJ Envy, Angela Yee and Charlamagne Tha God. The radio show covers a range of diligences including current events and hot topics such as, hip-hop and politics, and can be viewed digitally or heard on air.

Florida State University Biological Sciences sophomore student, Daena Senatus, was surprised when she heard of Gillum’s appearance on the radio show.  

“Given the representation of the Breakfast Club, alternative strategies may have been more appropriate to target millennials,” said Senatus.

Senatus views the Breakfast Club as an opportunity for public figures within the entertainment industry to comment and provide thoughts on current events rather than political figures.  

“Was it tactical? Yes. Was it executed well? That, I am not sure of,” Senatus said.


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